Where have all the campaign signs gone?

This Route 123 median in Burke has no signs, but the area used to be crowded with signs in past elections. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va. – There’s a month to go before the general election, but something is missing from campaigns this year: all those candidate signs along highway medians.

In past elections, candidates would clog the Fairfax County medians with dozens of colorful but distracting campaign signs. But this year both parties agreed to abide by a new law banning the signs along highway medians.

The agreement comes even though there’s no mechanism in place to enforce the ban.

Fairfax County had been the only county in the state not allowed to ban the signs until the general assembly gave permission last session. But there wasn’t time to set penalties or enforcement rules before the 2012 election cycle, which includes a deal with the Virginia Department of Transportation to take offending signs down. So the voluntary plan was suggested.

For some folks shopping at University Plaza along Route 123, the plan was a good idea.

“They were all there so nobody paid any attention to them.” says Jeff Lindsay.

Another shopper, Vicky Clewell, says the signs were ugly and she’s glad they’re down.

Many candidates for lesser offices used the signs to get name recognition. But Eric Wewerker, also shopping at University Plaza, says he never made a decision on how to vote from what he saw on a campaign sign.

Businesses aren’t allowed to put up advertising signs on highway medians either, but many of them have ignored the new rule. On Monday, part of the Route 123 median, though free from campaign signs, was cluttered with cardboard signs from a furniture store going out of business

The new law doesn’t prevent homeowners from putting up campaign signs on their lawns or other places on private property.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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